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HOT WHEELS: Husband-wife tandem from Bozeman take first place in elite division race

By CURT SYNNESS Independent Record | Posted: Monday, May 17, 2010 12:00 am | (1) Comments 

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 buy this photo Tom Schoderbek with the Team Velo Dynamos too second place junior boys age 11-12 in short course race in the Unravel the Scratchgravel mountain bike race on Sunday. 


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Unravel the Scratchgravel results

Unravel the Scratchgravel 

X-C Mountain Bike Races 

BIG COURSE, 6.35 miles per lap 

Cat 1 Men (Expert), 5 laps 

John Curry, Boz, 1:48:10; 2. Frank Gonzales, Hel, 1:51:05; 3. Alex Lussver, Boz, 2:02:22. 

Cat 1 Women (Expert), 5 laps 

Lisa Curry, Boz, 2:48:13 

Cat 2 Men (Sport), 3 laps 

Jesse Doll, Mis, 1:14:23; 2. Joe Hamilton, Hel, 1:14:26; 3. Guy MacKenzie, Boz, 1:16:00. 

Cat 2 Women (Spor… Full Story



Halfway through her race at the Unravel the Scratchgravel mountain bike races Sunday, Erika Ackerland had a decision to make. 

After losing her water bottle in the Cat 3 (Beginner) Junior Female event, Ackerland, 14, could either keep going and tough it out without water, or turn around and find the bottle. The latter would’ve cost her time, of course; but that shouldn’t have mattered, because she was the only girl in her category. 



“My water bottle bounced out of its cage, but I decided to keep going,” said the competitive Helena Middle School eighth-grader, who clocked a time of 34 minutes, 15 seconds over the three-mile course. 

The Unravel the Scratchgravel mountain bike race was the first event of the year for the Montana Off Road Series, and attracted some of the top expert bikers in the state. 

The “Big Course” Cat 1 (Expert) race – consisting of five 6.35-mile laps over the course on the west side of the Scratchgravel Hills – was won by Bozeman’s John Curry. Curry traversed the 32-mile distance in 1 hour, 48 minutes, 10 seconds. 

Frank Gonzales of Helena placed runner-up in 1:51:05, while Bozeman’s Alex Lussver came in third in 2:02:22. Geoff Proctor, who coaches the Helena Dynamos junior racers, placed sixth. 

“I really like this course,” said Curry, 29, who placed 25th at the national mountain bike cross country championships last year in Granby, Colo. “It’s a fast course, and there are a lot of mixes between single and double tracks, which is nice.” 

Curry’s wife, Lisa, won the women’s expert race, in 2:48:13. 

There were 11 contestants in the Cat 1 division, 59 entrants in the Cat 2 (sport, three laps) category, and 13 bikers in the Cat 3 (beginners, one lap) races, according to event coordinator Chad Dexter. It was the second year Big Sky Cyclery put on the event, and this year’s turnout was much higher than the inaugural race. 

The top local finishers in the Cat 2, were a pair of runner-up placers, Joe Hamilton (1:14:26) and Debra Morrell (1:41:59), in the mens and womens divisions. 

A couple of Helena Dynamos members took 1-2 in the Cat 2 junior male category. Landon Beckner won the race in 1:23:51, followed by teammate Atticus Proctor, in 1:31:51. 

Helena’s Matt Spindler captured the Cat 3 junior male race, in 30:07. Spindler, 24, who moved to the Capital City with his family five years ago, said at one point he was locked in behind several cyclists. 

“But that didn’t matter, they had nowhere to go, just like me,” he shrugged. 

Keenan Charlton of Boulder won the Cat 3 junior male under 14 race, in 31:08. 

Helena Dynamos riders Keaton Habeck taking second and Colin Habeck taking third in the junior boys (13-14). They finished behind Todd Thayer of Missoula. 

Despite some fast times, that’s not all the race was about, especially for some members of the Helena Dynamos, the fledgling mountain bike team that’s seen its numbers — and successes — rise in just a couple years. 

“I think I had a good race, but I didn’t want to push myself too hard,” said Dynamos member Tom Schoderback, who placed second in the junior boys 11-12 category. Schoderback, a fifth-grader at Smith School, said he rides in the South Hills trail system once a week with his dad, Bill, and his brother, Sam. 

Dynamos assistant coach Scott Herzig noted that the club boasts about 90 members on the roster, ranging in ages from fourth grade to high school. 

“We train about once a week, meeting at the Eagle Scout Trailhead,” Herzig said. “Usually about 40 kids will ride at the same time, and it’s nice because the teachers and parents help out a lot.” 

Curt Synness: 449-2150 or 

Boredom is a state of mind                        

MARTIN J. KIDSTON – Independent Record – 05/21/09 | Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 11:00 pm | (0)

The air conditioning hummed Monday at the local tire shop, the sound of impact wrenches buzzing in the garage.

It was a good place to relax on a hot spring day — hot enough to see the paving crews sucking down water and the dust-covered mountain bikers stopping for beer at the Blackfoot River Brewery.

After a long winter, the spring weather seems well overdue. But then again, this time of year, it always does.

The first dose of skin-darkening sun is hard to resist. That first shoulder-sunburn is almost a pleasure.

Yet winter’s aftermath lingers, hidden in the rising rivers and upon the drifts of snow that cling to the shadows on the Mount Helena ridge — smack across the trail, no doubt.

Other bikers have been here before, their tire tracks cutting a deep, slick line through the snow. Riding in sand was never so much fun — the cold snow a welcome reprieve on a hot spring day.

“Helena has some 0f the best trails in the state,” said Chad Dexter, who works with Big Sky Cyclery. “Maybe even some of the best trails in the nation.”

Its scenic backdrop isn’t too shabby, either, much of it placed under protection by the Prickly Pear Land Trust, not to mention a long list of donors and volunteers.

The dry mountain gulches hold trickling streams. Along the Mount Helena ridge, the flowers rise in bloom: A botanical garden that will surely lose its color in the season ahead, just as that bubbling brook running down Grizzly Gulch may soon be reduced to a trickle.

From the ridge, on a clear day, you can almost see them — the drift boats swaying on the distant Missouri River.

The general fishing season opened last Saturday and the boys down at Hatchopedia in Bozeman have been busy fielding incoming reports written by fishermen for fishermen.

If you trust the latest reports, the fish in the Bighorn are going nuts over pink scuds with glow-bug trailers. On the Missouri, it’s the brown nymphs and red wire worms that are working well.

“People aren’t out there giving away their secrets,” said Nick Bennett, one of Hatchopedia’s founders. “It’s just helpful hints. It’s not like giving up your best hunting spot.”

On Sunday, while skiers hit Canyon Ferry (albeit in limited numbers), Big Sky Cyclery kicked off its summer season with the first ever Unravel the Scratchgravel mountain bike race.

Held off Birdseye Road, more than 40 adults and around 10 juniors showed up to ride on what turned out to be a sultry, if not hot, spring day.

“It’s going to be a fast course,” said state cyclocross champion Frank Gonzalez before Sunday’s race. “You’re hammering the whole time.”

The springtime party continued all week. Birds and Beasley’s hosted their weekly bird walk, and the gun dog shooters held their weekly practice for Sunday’s national field tests.

Back on the mountain, more than a dozen children showed up at the Ambrose Trail to kick off Mount Helena Kids Day. Down at the grocery store — not to be outdone — bearded floaters bought a weekend’s-worth of provisions; Sheppard’s bread, meat, beans, beer and more meat.

With all that going on — with the sun inching farther north every day — boredom is surely a state of mind.

Martin Kidston: 447-4086 or

Posted in Recreation on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 11:00 pm


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